Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Jesus of the West is a story inspired by a real event, a strange, mid-summer gathering at Burnaby Lake Regional Park in Burnaby, British Columbia, some years ago.  A personage identified as "The Jesus of the East" arrived at the park and daily, over a few weeks, along with an entourage, kept vigil on a wooden platform meant for canoe-launching at the end of the boardwalk that runs along the Piper Avenue Spit, which is a mud and gravel land-form coughed out into Burnaby Lake by small but determined Eagle Creek.  

Why was He there?  To prevent pan-global nuclear catastrophe.  

The Jesus of the East was associated with a Chinese-speaking religious group rumored to come from either Texas or Taiwan or both. To the surprise of many, He, the Jesus, was a pre-teen boy, or at least looked like one. He could have walked off any playground in Greater Vancouver and no one would have suspected. 

It was revealed that Jesus, his family, and various others had come to the lake to await the arrival of the "Jesus of the West," whose exact identity was unknown, but who was believed by the Jesus of the Easters to be a Caucasian man living in or near Vancouver.  Their goal was to have the two Jesuses get together and tag-pray to avert what otherwise was to occur the following year.

It was a weird story that received enough media coverage to make it weirder.  Park attendance doubled and then quadrupled as crowds of the curious and a number of wannabe Western Jesuses flocked to the lake.  People really want to see a Jesus.

How did it end?   Everyone simply left.  If the Jesus of the West ever showed up, it was kept quiet. A pan-global nuclear catastrophe did not occur the following year, so perhaps everything went according to plan.   

The  Central Area Parks Interpretive Staff, headquartered at the Burnaby Lake Nature House, had a front row seat to all of it.

*   *   *

The Jesus of the West is a story that surrounds and includes those weeks.  In this parallel version of events, the mundane and at times soul-destroying world of nature interpretation becomes entangled with the Supernatural, which leads, naturally, to unpredictable events: a dead woman carries on a conversation in a park maintenance vehicle; a 
nature house mysteriously burns down; long-separated lovers are reunited; a beaver is smuggled in an ice cream truck.   

It's a story about indelible connections formed in early adulthood, about saving what matters, and about the power of canoeing.   It starts here.

Note:  This is fiction.  No character is meant to portray any real person.

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